Before having Mila, I read someone’s birth story which said: “I worked hard for my baby’s birth” and I really feel I can relate to this statement. Not just during labour, but more so beforehand. So many people go into childbirth having not done any "work" whatsoever, and what with it being one of the biggest tests your body may go through, I have no idea why anyone wouldn’t read up on it!
Even though it was my second birth, I still read the books and loads of positive birth stories online, listened to the hypnobirthing recordings, had some reflexology sessions, did colostrum harvesting, drank raspberry leaf tea, ate dates, and saw a chiropractor throughout the pregnancy. I think that put me in the best steed for the birth and ensured I was fully prepared for most eventualities, especially with it being the second and having the potential to be different. I was lucky enough to have a good pregnancy- of course it came with all the usual aches and pains, a bit of heartburn, more exhaustion than the first time (probably due to having a toddler to run around after), and a heatwave in my 39th week of pregnancy.
My cramps began in the early evening after having the first cooler day post heatwave where I was actually able to leave the house after midday and not melt! I’d taken Albie out to the library and playground in the morning and then to his favourite playcentre in the afternoon- so quite a lot of walking. Bill was working from home to help me as much as he could with Albie that day, and lucky he was as he’d decided to have some pretty epic leg kicking tantrums! The crampings started just before Bill put Albie to bed, and I didn’t want to read too much into it as I’d started this way with Albie and then had him 39 hours later, so thought it best we kept Albie at home for the night, although our plan was to have him out of the house for the birth.
We went up to bed around 9pm and I slept deeply until 11pm when I woke up as the contractions had started. Bill went to get me a hot water bottle which was amazing when applied to my lower back during a contraction. I was still quite sleepy with it being the middle of the night so was trying to rest between contractions and managed this for about 4 hours until they got a bit more intense. Bill had been running up and down the stairs during this time, getting the living room ready with candles etc, preparing the birthing pool and putting towels everywhere! I kept saying to him to relax and try and get some rest, thinking we’d still have a long time to go.
The contractions were then getting a bit too uncomfortable to lie down for and it took every inch of myself to get out of bed and downstairs when I still felt so drowsy, but the change of scenery and movement really upped things again. The contractions were then coming about every 3 minutes and were too intense to just breath through, so the tens machine and it’s hundreds of settings became handy. Bill knew from first time round that I would get quite hot during so had prepared lots of ice packs which he had wet flannels over which he’d put over my forehead and shoulders.
Bill had taken control of calling the midwifes at this point as I was adamant that I didn’t want them to come too early so kept trying to hold off. They arrived at around 4am and I was in the zone! I barely looked at them but allowed them to check my blood pressure and baby’s heart beat. I vaguely remember looking at the clock on the oven and seeing it was 5am and thinking, I need to have this baby soon or else Albie is going to come downstairs and not know what is happening to his mummy.
I then started to felt the urge to push so pretty much jumped into the birthing pool, which luckily due to Bill’s organisation was filled and to the right temperature. The relief was incredible. My whole body managed to relax between pushes and I was only in there for 10 minutes pushing. Mila was born at 5.28am. She gave us a bit of a shock when she came out as she was unresponsive for a few minutes, but the midwives were incredible and took control while keeping us calm and brought her round. It turned out that she’d had meconium in the waters and they only seen this when my waters broke in the pool when her head came out. They advised we took her into hospital to have 12 hours of observations, which I was sad about as it kind of defeated the object of a home birth, but was equally very eager to do so that we could be certain she was ok.
We had our golden hour at home, I birthed my placenta naturally and then enjoyed some tea, toast and porridge while my mum came over to be ready to help for when Albie woke up. He slept in until 8.45am and then came down to meet his baby sister, although he was slightly more interested in the fact there was a blow up pool in the middle of the room and bin bags covering up the windows! He spent some time checking out Mila- making sure she had all 10 fingers and all 10 toes, and giving her some kisses and cuddles. Mum then got him off to nursery and we got ourselves into hospital where we stayed until 5.30pm and then got released home to enjoy a night of takeaways and staring at our new baby girl!
I would 100% recommend having a home birth if you can, and if you are considering it to do as much research as you can. The main reason being the shocking rates of intervention in hospitals, which are most of the time unnecessary. We can only give birth if we are comfortable in our surroundings, so what better a place to do this than at home…there are countless people who can help you if you don’t feel confident enough- doula’s, private midwives etc. I was lucky enough that my husband was fully supportive of home birth and he was the most amazing person to stand by my side during the birth, and the home birth team at West Middlesex are brilliant, that I didn’t need anyone else. If you would like any advice or a chat about it I would be more than happy to help.
I moved to Isleworth just before Christmas and have been spending the last couple of months getting the room ready for clients. It's a lovely bright and sunny garden treatment room which I am so excited to be working out of and hopefully I will be nice and busy in Isleworth! We were very sad to leave Hampton Wick but we needed a move as Albie, our 15 month old, was quickly running out of space.
The treatment room is partly ready, we are just waiting for the curtain which will be up in March. I have made a make-do solution for now though and have been treating clients in there already. Get in touch if Isleworth is your closest treatment room and I can book you in. My working hours there are 9.30am-5.30pm Wednesdays and Fridays, and 10am-12pm on Saturdays.
After having a lovely long maternity break with my son Albie, I have returned back to doing what I love most! My treatment rooms in Putney and Isleworth will be open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9.30am-5.30pm. Get in touch if you would like to book yourself in!
I found reading birth stories during my pregnancy really helpful in preparing me for labour so I wanted to share my own. I have included details of any practitioners I saw during pregnancy and books I read etc. at the end of the story.
I had always planned for a home birth, as my sister and sister-in-law both had one, and it was an avenue I wanted to take as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I was lucky that my husband, Bill was always on board too. It helped that the home birth team at Kingston Hospital are absolutely fantastic.
I was lucky enough to have a very straightforward and even enjoyable pregnancy. I was able to stay active throughout with lots of walking, swimming, cycling, yoga and HIIT workouts. In preparation for the birth I had reflexology about once a month and then weekly from about 37 weeks. I even taught Bill the key pressure points to work to help encourage a natural labour, and he did a session the night before I went into labour which I am sure helped!
I went to see a chiropractor at week 37 and 39 to check the baby was in the correct position. I read two really good books that I would recommend to anyone on this journey- “How to have a baby” by Natalie Meddings and “The Positive Birth Book” by Milli Hill. I started eating 7-10 dates a day from 36 weeks and drank a cup of raspberry leaf tea every day from this stage too, upping it to 3 cups a day around 39 weeks. We did a hypnobirthing course which I found really informative and incredibly helpful for getting me through the labour, where all I used were breathing techniques and a TENS machine.
We must have sensed something was going to happen as we went to bed really early on 8th. I woke up at 5am on the 9th November- 2 days before my due date, with cramps in my lower belly which were coming about every 15 minutes. I lay in bed breathing through the discomfort and waited for Bill to wake up. When he woke up I told him I thought things were starting to happen. We tried not to get too excited as he calmly went downstairs to start setting up the house and the birthing pool so that it was all ready…not realising quite how long this latent stage of labour would last!
That day we went for a couple of walks, watched Notting Hill, I bounced on the ball, baked some cupcakes and tried not to clock watch. The contractions weren’t getting any more intense or closer together- they were still about 15 minutes apart, so we decided to get another early night after a big bowl of wholegrain pasta and pesto. I didn’t get much sleep that night and woke up at 5am the next morning again.
That morning is a bit of a blur really, but things started to progress around midday. I didn’t really manage to eat anything that day, apart from a concoction made up by Bill of soaked oats, mashed banana, peanut butter and agave syrup. It was the perfect little energy booster for my stomach which wasn't able to keep anything down. We had a good calming meditation playlist going from Spotify, and Bill made sure the atmosphere in the house was lovely and chilled. Lots of candles, low lighting (he’d even boarded up the windows to stop the light coming in!) and nice smells in the diffuser. I started using the TENS machine when the surges got more intense and found this a great distraction. That along with the hypnobirthing breathing was what got me through this whole second stage.
We called the midwife, Sarah at around 4pm and she came over to do checks on my blood pressure, the baby’s heart rate and position and our general wellbeing! She decided it was too early and left us to try and rest in the hope that it would speed things along. I got positioned on the bed in one of the Miles circuit positions, but found it really hard to rest when the surges were coming about every 4 minutes now, and were really quite intense. After about an hour things really hotted up, and I found myself crouched over the end of the bed with surges coming every few minutes and being really quite intense. I think Bill was quite worried that I'd have the baby in the bedroom without the midwife at this point, but Sarah was on her way!
Bill ran me a bath, which I hated as it was so cramped (our bath is small at the best of times!) and didn’t allow me to move with the surges, and then we got downstairs where I paced up and down, stopping for each surge to sway and bend over the nice cold kitchen island. He started filling up the birthing pool at this point, which I remember watching filling up and thinking it may not be ready in time. The midwife- Sarah had now arrived, and this we now realise was the right time for her to come. At this stage I was doubled over the stairs enjoying the cool draft coming down from upstairs. The kitchen had got quite hot by this stage with the pool being filled up. I felt a big click/pop which was my waters breaking and Sarah said it was ok for me to get in the pool if I wanted to. I was very conscious of not getting into the pool too early, so really tried to wait until I’d exhausted all other pain relieving options.
When I did get into the pool the relief was amazing. It was as though the water took away all the discomfort and the anti-gravity feeling allowed me to move into different positions more easily. I was then ready to push. After about an hour and a half of pushing and being able to rest a bit in between, with a lot of encouragement from Bill, our little baby boy was born in the water at 8.45pm! I couldn't have done it without the amazing support from Bill, and the wonderful midwife.
I managed to naturally birth the placenta shortly after, and then it was cuddles with our little Albie in our bed. Unfortunately his breathing was measuring slightly too fast, which can be a sign of infection, so we had to head into Kingston Hospital for check ups and antibiotics. We had to stay in for 48 hours which slightly defeated the whole point of having a home birth, but it made going home even more special and at least we were able to ensure his safety at the hospital. The home birth team from Kingston were truly amazing, as were the team in the hospital. If you have any questions, please get in touch- I am a massive advocate for home births :)
Stephen Hughes at The Octagon Clinic
Natalie Meddings- How to have a baby
Mili Hill- The Positive Birth Book
One for the partners- Pregnancy for men: The Whole 9 Months
Rosie Gray- https://therichmonddoula.co.uk/
Tor Gatenby at https://www.hamptonwickhealth.com/
I went to have a mummy MOT at 6 weeks post partum, where I had my pelvic floor and abs checked and was given lots of useful advice about going back to exercise etc.
Rosie Jacks at White Hart Clinic: https://www.whitehartclinic.co.uk/
I will be off on maternity leave from 22nd October 2021 for the foreseeable future. I will definitely be back up and running once I've had the baby, I just don't know how long it will take. If you would like to be kept in the loop then please join my mailing list for any updates.
I hope you are well, and keeping as cool as you can in this heat! One tip from me to help keep you cool and sleep and night is to keep a damp flannel in the freezer and use it to cool you down during the night. I'm finding this is my saving grace at the moment and it stays nice and cold for a long time! Obviously most important is to stay hydrated during this heatwave too.
What with "freedom day" yesterday, I wanted to give you some updates on how this will affect my workspace:
All the best,
I hope you are well and enjoying the good old British Summer that has finally graced us with it's presence!
I'm heading down to Devon for a week off until 20th June, so will be off my emails until then. It's been pretty crazy since I reopened post lockdown in April so I'm looking forward to a break and to recharge my batteries.
I am now 18 weeks pregnant, so feeling even more deserving of a holiday. Baby is due in November so I will just be playing it by ear in terms of when I can work up until- I'll just have to see how it goes! I will keep updating you via the newsletter though.
Make sure you're staying hydrated and cool in the heat over the next few days.
All the best,
Finally the good news that I've been waiting for! I am able to reopen from 12th April, following the same precautions that I had last year.
Similar to the last lockdown I will only be able to see a handful of clients during this time. The Association of Reflexologists have become slightly more strict in their advice this time round, suggesting that we may need to show a letter from a medical professional if we were to be checked by our local authorities as to why we are treating a client. I will only be able to see clients during this lockdown if they are coming to the Putney treatment room, and if they are having reflexology as part of a healthcare plan for a mental or physical heath problem. Essentially you may have reflexology to prevent putting a strain on the NHS further down the line. This can include for example clients with muscular/skeletal pain, pregnant clients with pelvic girdle pain, or clients in their third trimester to try and encourage a natural labour. It can also include those with stress induced insomnia, depression and/or anxiety. You will need to specify your condition when booking through my online form.
If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to ask!
There have been some changes in the way this second lockdown will affect my business so please read carefully.
I have now joined the CNHC (Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council) who have sought legal advice on whether complementary healthcare practitioners registered with them can remain open under the national restrictions. They have been advised that we are allowed to treat clients as long as you are coming for reflexology for an identified mental or physical health condition or injury that is causing you pain, or having an adverse impact on your mobility or your quality of life. The reason for this is that it could help to support the NHS by preventing hospital admissions further down the line.
I am not allowed to do mobile treatments unless I have received a direct referral from a statutory regulated health professional. The Teddington treatment room will remain closed for now as the access (through the house) isn't COVID-secure, however the Putney treatment room will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays.
I will be updating my risk assessment form to include a question to confirm that you fall into the category of clients that I am allowed to treat during this time.
For those of you that we cannot prove the treatment is essential to your health or mental wellbeing, I will be allowed to treat you again from 2nd December- provided the lockdown isn't extended.
Please get in contact if you are unsure and we can discuss further. I hope you can understand these new changes in the rules.
All the best,
Georgie created "Retreat 4 Your Feet" in 2011. The blog includes fun facts, personal stories, and general information.